Configuring alarms in an asset tree improves alarm management

Alarm servers deliver real-time alarm management throughout a system, allowing a company to organize alarms in an intuitive asset structure for easy navigation and roll-up, according to a company with a Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award product.

By Mary Anne Ballouz February 11, 2022
Courtesy: Iconics

 

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how too many alarm notifications can add risk.
  • Understand how to create a well-designed alarm system.
  • See how alarm servers add operational, situational awareness.

Alarm management for process manufacturing has come a long way since the time of panel board systems to digital control systems to more sophisticated human-machine interface (HMI) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems following the digital revolution. With these advancements, came the perspective that the more alarms that were configured and deployed, the better the monitoring of operations.

Too many alarm notifications can add risk

While alarms have advantages, complex alarm management systems delivered an overabundance of alarm notifications.

Personnel would often be inundated with all types of alarms for all types of incidents to the point of “analysis paralysis,” making them unable to address priority operational alarms. This type of inefficient, poor and improper alarm management can lead to substantial business losses, estimated to be in the range of $10 billion to $20 billion dollars in lost production annually, commonly due to unplanned downtime time and sometimes due to serious industrial incidents.

How to create a well-designed alarm system with alarm servers

Alarm systems are meant to increase operational awareness and alert personnel to abnormal operating conditions, so they can prevent or minimize process disruptions. A well-configured alarm system can do this. To help avoid a “flood of alarms” that is too much for the operator to handle, it is important to simplify an alarm management system. One way to do this is to use technology that allows users to configure alarms within hierarchical asset trees.

Alarm servers that support native asset-based integration allow users to configure alarms from equipment properties or equipment classes (templates), so users do not have to maintain two different structures, for example an alarm tree and an asset tree. Alarms configured within the asset tree then become an inherent part of that equipment’s digital twin. With these new servers, users can break free from the limitations of traditional alarm types (like digital, limit and rate of change) to take advantage of modern alarm systems.

These systems provide users with the capability to tweak existing alarm types or define new custom types to refine the criteria around exactly what constitutes an alarm state for today’s sophisticated manufacturing equipment. These systems can also read and alarm on historical data (not just real-time data), making alarms such as rate of change, much more flexible and accurate in how this data can be applied and calculated.

Hyper Alarm Server is a powerful new addition to the alarm management capabilities of Genesis64, capable of serving alarms to clients using Iconics, OPC UA, or OPC Classic. It was developed using all new technology that allows it to perform better and more natively integrate with Iconics Platform Services and provides ISA 18.2-compliance and redundancy. Courtesy: Iconics

Hyper Alarm Server is a powerful new addition to the alarm management capabilities of Genesis64, capable of serving alarms to clients using Iconics, OPC UA, or OPC Classic. It was developed using all new technology that allows it to perform better and more natively integrate with Iconics Platform Services and provides ISA 18.2-compliance and redundancy. Courtesy: Iconics

Alarm servers add operational, situational awareness

This groundbreaking technology represents a powerful new addition to alarm management systems. These new capabilities allow for increased operational and situational awareness and decrease the time it takes operators to identify and address alarms. These alarm servers deliver real-time alarm management throughout a system, allowing a company to organize alarms within an intuitive asset structure for easy navigation and roll-up. Users can manage alarms with a preconfigured viewer to then integrate into any SCADA or HMI display. The ability to configure alarms within an asset tree will improve any alarm management system.

Mary Anne Ballouz is marketing communications, Iconics. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Alarm server advice, Engineers’ Choice Awards

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Mary Anne Ballouz
Author Bio: Mary Anne Ballouz is marketing communications, Iconics.